Fat plagues us. As a nation, we spend $60 billion annually fighting it. When biochemist Sylvia Tara waged her own battle, she embarked on a mission to better understand the enemy. After years of research and interviews with physicians, patients and leading scientists, she offers a scientist’s perspective on how to gain the upper hand in controlling our weight.
Drawing on her new book The Secret Life of Fat (W.W. Norton & Co.), Tara explains that our bodies actually have self-defense measures to hold on to fat. For example, fat can use stem cells to regenerate; increase our appetite; and use bacteria, genetics, and viruses to expand. It is also a critical component of our health—even playing a role in our body’s reproductive and immune systems. And although over-eating is most often cited as a factor in obesity, our genetics, gender, hormones, and microbiome also influence body weight.
She suggests that with a better understanding of how fat works, we can be more strategic in controlling it, from fine-tuning our diets to recognizing body-weight set points and using exercise and fasting to release natural fat-burning chemicals.
Tara is a former healthcare management consultant with McKinsey & Company. The Secret Life of Fat is available for signing.